Glitz and glamour at Busan

Hakim Hayat in Seoul, South Korea

SEOUL, South Korea – Despite trailing behind seasoned drama producing countries Thailand and Singapore for the Best Asian Drama Award at the very first Asia Contents Awards (ACA) in Busan, South Korea, locally produced drama film The Bungsu Story’s nomination to the award proves the capabilities of local talents to shine in the international filming industry and serves as an inspiration to the small industry in Brunei, its cast members said.

The ACA that took place on October 6 is a new accolade from the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) that recognises outstanding TV series in the television industry from across Asia and is expected to help expand a new footprint into the market of non-film content and TV series.

The awards are comprised of eight categories that reward the finest TV dramas produced over the past five years from Asia, including 10 ASEAN member countries, South Korea, China and Japan. Attended by Korean and foreign performers in glamorous night gowns and dresses, the inaugural event was held at Dongseo University’s Sohyang Theater across the road from the Busan Cinema Centre, and was hosted by Korean-German actor Yoo Teo (Vertigo) and Miss Korea Kim Se-yeon. K-pop singer Jung Dong-ha and girl band AOA punctuated proceedings with musical interludes.

Brunei’s The Bungsu Story was nominated along with other productions from across the region in the Best Asian Drama Award category. Thailand’s Hormones: The Series and Singapore’s Faculty shared the award eventually. Other nominees are from Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.

South Korean TV producer Kim Yong-kyu won the ‘Best Creative Award,’ the night’s top prize. Faculty also won best rising star for Fang Rong while Hormones stars Kemisara Paladesh and Sananthachat Thanapatpisal were also named as best newcomers.

The team representing The Bungsu Story production in a group photo at the Asia Contents Awards (ACA) in Busan

One of the leading cast members of The Bungsu Story Adi Nabil told the Bulletin that it is humbling to be recognised.

“I’m very proud of our team (the Filterworks Productions and Lailatul Shazana’s Production) for giving me the opportunity to be a part of them,” he said.

“I’m also very grateful to Mariani binti Abdullah from DM Don Square for submitting The Bungsu Story to represent Brunei.

“I honestly still can’t believe it happened. I just feel motivated to do better now and hope the film industry in Brunei does too,” he added.

Another lead cast member Safarah binti Nordin shared that to be able to represent and be nominated for Brunei in the ACA is definitely something Bruneians should be proud of.

“It feels rewarding to be recognised for something you worked so hard for,” she said, while expressing hope to see more Bruneian content to be produced and shown not just locally but internationally.

The local film co-produced by Filterworks Productions and Lailatul Shazana’s Production initially premiered on September 20, 2018, at The Grandstand Cinema, with a one-week run. It was also screened by Progresif Media for three days and on a limited run at White Screen Cinema.

Co-executive producer and co-founder of Filterworks Productions Aa’qiil Ahmad, Director Aznniel Yunus and DM Don Square Entertainment representative Mariani binti Abdullah were also present at the ACA with the cast members.